What is SEO?
You might have heard of “SEO”, but not know what it is. If you are a seasoned veteran of the online marketing world for attorneys, feel free to skip ahead. In general, search engine optimization, or SEO, is a marketing technique to get specific pages of your website to be found at the top of search engine result pages when a user uses specific keywords.
When done correctly, SEO is an ongoing process used to increase web traffic and generate the number of inbound leads that your website generates.
How is SEO for a Law Firm Different?
When it comes to SEO for law firms, there are unique considerations that have to be made due both to the ethical considerations and the highly competitive search landscape. It can be difficult to generate leads if you don’t know how to target potential clients at the exact time they are searching for representation.
SEO for law firms involves understanding the intent of a searcher’s query and what content or information they need to satisfy their research and ultimately turn them into a lead. A successful SEO strategy is able to capture prospective legal clients and guide them to take action (by calling you) on your website.
Why is SEO Important for Law Firms?
In today’s hyper-connected age, SEO is one of the most dependable, stable, and profitable law firm marketing techniques. A strategically crafted SEO campaign can become a law firm’s largest source of new prospective clients as well as providing the lowest cost-per-acquisition for new clients as compared to other marketing channels.
Competing Law Firms are Using SEO-Driven Content Marketing Strategies
If you’re not already using SEO to inform your overall legal digital marketing strategy, you’re late to the game. When users are searching online for legal representation, does your law firm’s website show in the search results? Is the page filled with competing websites of other firms? Don’t let your competition dominate the search space.
Prospective Clients are Searching for Law Firms Online
When people start their online search for legal advice or representation, they are looking for the best representation that is near them. In order to make this short list of consideration, they have to see your firm. SEO plus a well-implemented content strategy is the way that you get on that short list.
Even in an off-line sense, if a potential client receives a word of mouth referral for your law firm, and they search for your firm online, will they find you or your competitors? That’s what SEO does – put your website in front of potential clients at the exact time they are considering your services. This is a much warmer audience than other channels of marketing.
SEO Can Provide a LARGE Volume of New Clients for Law Firms
Many lawyers, and even in-house marketers, do not have the time or expertise required to successfully implement an SEO/content campaign. Majux is an agency with a proven track record of creating a tailored solutions for your law firm that will result in more qualified calls and consultations.
For example, in November 2019, we measured the average number of qualified leads that we generated for all of the law firms that we partner with in an ongoing sense. Over the span of 30 days, we produced an average of 181 qualified leads for each of the law firms we partner with.
Majux has years of experience providing SEO services for law firms of various sizes, practice areas, and budgets across the nation. The metrics below (updated November 2019) show the average the first 6 months of results for every firm we’ve worked with over the years.
What Factors Should Your Law Firm Consider when Choosing an SEO Agency?
An efficient search engine optimization strategy for lawyers is an ongoing process. It includes creating a content strategy, writing content, testing, monitoring, and analyzing different data points to determine success. While there are hundreds of factors that can affect the way a webpage ranks, here are some SEO factors you should consider in how well your current agency is performing and whether you can do better.
Whether the Agency Understands the Legal Industry
It also not enough for an agency to be good at any individual piece of your overall strategy. They need to understand and have experience in the legal space. Too often we see advertisements and content on new client’s sites that feature the wrong words (think “Workmans” vs” Workers'”), unintelligent-sounding, or procedurally incorrect information. If your agency doesn’t know the law and how potential clients choose representation, that affects all of the decisions they make on your behalf – from the content they are publishing to the keywords they are optimizing your website for.
Even more dangerous – we see too many agencies that are either intentionally or unintentionally violating attorney advertising rules for law firms that they are working with. 95% of the time, the law firm itself has no idea that the agency they are using is violating an ethical rule. You can see it for yourself – try Googling “Best XYZ lawyer [your geography]” or “#1 XYZ lawyer [your geography]“. Depending on your geography and practice area, you are likely to see law firms advertising that they are “the best”, “#1”, or “the top” attorneys in your geography. These firms are exposing themselves and making their firm look foolish to other attorneys.
Another mistake that we see often is firms advertising that they can obtain “maximum compensation” or “the most money.” This is also a fairly significant ethical violation in many states.
Even scarier for you individually – try Googling your firm name. You are also likely to see competitors bidding on your brand name, which is also an ethical violation in some states.
These mistakes are not harmless, firms have been reported, sanctioned, and sued for mistakes just like these – and they are COMMON. Working with an agency that is not experienced in the legal space can be downright dangerous and expose your law firm to action.
Here are real some examples:
If your digital marketing agency is doing this – run.
Understanding How to Set Up URL and Internal Link Structure Correctly
One way that a search engine determines what information is related on your website is through internal linking. Internal links connect one page on your website to another page on your website. This should not be confused with external links, which connect a page on your website to another website.
A correctly organized internal linking structure sends a strong signal to search engines that the content on the website is well structured.
Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Your page <title> tag and the meta description include the information that is used to generate your search engine result snippet. An experienced SEO agency knows how to target the best keywords for the limited space available to give your content the best chance to rank.
The content on your website needs to be targeted to what potential clients are searching for. If you don’t answer their question, someone else will, and those readers will be far more likely to call the law firm who has authoritative content on the specific legal issue that the searcher is looking for.
Cleaning Up Old and Existing Content
All content is not created equal. Web searchers are smart, informed, and looking for answers. Old, out-dated, or blank pages (“zombie” pages) buried on your website can give a search engine the wrong idea of the quality of content on your webpages.
At Majux, content and UX optimization is always an ongoing process. As human web interaction evolves and expectations shift, what worked even a year ago is often outdated. We are constantly using data and qualitative testing methods to identify problematic content and re-optimize it with rewrites, redirects, or other means.
That they Make Decisions Based on Data – Not Conjecture
Everything we do at Majux is based on data. Data is our North Star. That is because user behavior can shift so wildly between demographics, geographies, and even device types. We believe so strongly in this that it is covered in numbers 1, 2, and 4 in the “Our Values” section of this website. We make sure that everyone who applies to work with us sees this, understands it, and lives by it.
Do They Understand ‘Intent’?
What making decisions based on data ultimately leads to is a very deep understanding of intent and what visitors to your website need to see in order to convert into a client. We study this. We know this. We live this.
Understanding How to Attract and Convert ‘Top-of-Funnel’ vs. ‘Bottom-of-Funnel’ Visitors
Both types of visitors are important to the success and longevity of your law firm. Especially when coupled with a retargeting campaign. Your content strategy should target potential clients at every stage of the journey on deciding which law firm to hire.
Searchers that find you earlier in their research journey are more likely to choose your law firm when they are ready to make a purchase decision. This includes your advertising and retargeting strategy, but from an SEO perspective, you have to address people in the research, consideration, and buying phases.
Understanding How to Guide Prospective Clients Down Your Funnel
Have you thought about how to reach people early and late in their process of deciding which law firm to call? If someone searches for “can I sue Uber for an accident where I was the passenger,” they are relatively high in the funnel, meaning they may not be ready to book a consultation yet. There might be many questions that they are looking for answers on such as ‘whether their driver being at fault matters’, how they ‘can get a police report for an Uber accident’, etc.
On the other hand, if they search for “car accident lawyer near me,” that search intent indicates that they are further down the funnel and are ready to call a law firm at that exact moment. Further, the type of content that each of these visitors is presented with should be different to help nudge them toward a conversion. Potential clients that are still in the “research” intent phase will be more likely to call based on the depth and specificity of the information that they find on your website. A potential client who is lower in their intent funnel might be more likely to evaluate third-party reviews, the results listed on your website, and the number of positive reviews that your Google Maps listing has.
The internet is now mobile-first. Google made this change last year when it started evaluating every website on the planet by the mobile version rather than the desktop version. Have you compared the way your mobile website looks on Android devices and Apple devices? What about on an iPad? Websites have to be optimized for every device, and if your website is slow or the UX is poor, you could be bleeding leads faster than you realize.
We have a full suite of testing devices at our office, and we also carefully track how many users are visiting our clients’ sites from which devices. Our developers then tweak and optimize websites as necessary.
Page Speed and the New “LCP” Metric that Google Uses to Evaluate Your Website
Have you measured the speed of your website? If not, plug your URL in Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool – you might be disappointed. Further, in May 2020, Google introduced “LCP” or “Largest Contentful Paint“, which measures how quickly the majority of your content loads on mobile for a simulated human visitor. This is now a core metric by which Google evaluates and rewards your website.
Here’s a sobering statistic straight from Google: as your page load time increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability of a web user “bouncing,” or abandoning your site without engaging, increases by 90%. No matter how you look at it, you are losing cases by having a slow mobile website.
We have a sophisticated method for speeding up your site – we redesign with LCP in mind and minimize unnecessary scripts, compress (or remove) images, optimize your hosting and content delivery network (CDN) quality, and much more. All other things equal, the law firm with the fastest and most user-friendly mobile website often wins.
Backlinks and Media Mentions
A healthy, natural backlink profile sends a positive signal to Google. On the web, the other websites that associate with your site are important. Don’t get caught up with an agency building thousands of spammy backlinks to your website. Google can tell and will eventually hurt visibility. Further, many competing agencies are now employing “blackhat” tactics to attack competitors of their client. This is highly unethical in the legal space and you may be surprised to learn if you have been the victim of one of these attacks. It is far more common than you would think.
LOCAL SEO FOR ATTORNEYS
Per Google’s 2018 data, “[item] Near Me” searches had grown 150%+ over the previous two years. That’s another trend that will only continue to grow, and you need to adapt your web strategy accordingly. Are you creating optimized local content to best serve prospective clients in your area?
If you want to rank well for local searches, you’ll have to build instances across the web of your name, address, and phone number (NAP) – we call these “citations.” You’ll also have to have the right localized content, an optimized Google My Business listing, and an authoritative website.
Citations aren’t just for writing academic papers. When it comes to customers finding you on the web, a citation, also called a “web reference,” is any mention of the name and address of your business which appears on another website (and does not necessarily have to contain a backlink). These citations are important for the ranking of your Google Places (now sometimes called Google Plus Local) listing.
This is the listing that appears for some localized search results, typically in spots 3-8 on Google’s results page. Local profiles also show on mobile and local pack map search results. The more citations you can rack up, the better for the health of your Google Local profile. Citations show that other individuals and companies are aware of you and that your information is correct — they demonstrate to search engine algorithms that real human beings verified that you exist. The trick is knowing where to obtain these citations and the time involved with the sheer volume of citations that are necessary.
At Majux, we have the expertise to monitor and tailor your citations to reap maximum benefits for your business. Some of our citation optimization services include:
- Onsite Optimization
- Google My Business Optimization
- Citation Analysis
The Importance of Local Citations
Experts agree that up to 25% of how your business ranks locally is citation-based. The more relevant, high-quality citations your business can score, the better it’s going to be for your SEO rankings — period. At Majux, we know how to manage, build, and create citations to spread awareness of your brand to both human customers and search engine algorithms. We work to make sure that:
- your citations appear on relevant, trusted websites
- your citations aren’t being duplicated
- your citations are all an exact match
Cleaning Up Your Local Citations
When it comes to citation clean-up, consistency is key. Has your business ever moved? Has a phone number or email address ever changed? It could even be something more minor, like listing “St.” in one location and “Street” in another. Majux works to ensure that your citations are neat, clean, and consistent. With a set of strong, polished citations supporting you, your site and your business will be able to climb higher in the ranks than ever before.
PR and Media Mentions as a Part of Your Law Firm’s SEO Strategy
Google rewards websites that are getting cited online. Do you have a strategy for getting links and mentions across the web?
In short, a link back to your website is a vote in Google’s eyes — the more votes you have, and the more reputable the website that is providing that vote, the better your site will rank. And how, exactly, is a law firm supposed to acquire these links?
An agency with experience providing SEO for law firms will use tools to find where your competitors have earned links, and we figure out how to match their “backlink profile.” They should create a thought leadership content plan that allows us to get you quoted in publications.
At Majux, we have spent years pruning an extensive list of media contacts that we can use to help establish you as an expert in your field. Providing your website with traffic and links, which are crucial to any SEO marketing efforts.
The Power of PR and Article Placement for Your Law Firm
The idea of article placement is to broadcast yourself beyond the scope of your own site.
Ideally, you want people visiting an authoritative webpage to see content about your law firm or attorneys that encourage them to follow a link back to your website.
How does article placement help you? There are two major reasons that article placement is beneficial, no matter what industry you’re working in.
- It builds recognition and authority. It’s not a huge leap in logic to think that the more places you appear on the internet, the more opportunities people have to see your name. External websites provide a great supplement to any traffic that might come directly to your site.
- It builds up citations and backlinks. Citations are mentions of your site which appear on other sites, even where an actual link isn’t present. Backlinks are links back to your site from other sites. Citations and backlinks are viewed favorably by SEO algorithms, and they also help to usher visitors your way.
Here’s the problem: You’re busy running your business. You don’t have time to come up with a robust content marketing strategy, let alone actually writing, handling outreach, or sending articles. After all, you’re most likely not a writer — that’s not what you got into your line of work to accomplish.
Law Firm SEO with Majux – How We are Different
Majux has quickly grown into one of the preeminent digital agencies for law firms in the country. We have successfully obtained coverage for our law firm clients in major national online and print publications. You may have seen them featured in Newsweek, Vice, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, Law.com, The American Bar Journal, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Forbes, and other sites.
We know every SEO agency promises to get you listed on the first page of Google and increase traffic to your website. To us, this is just a feeder to what really matters – qualified calls and contact form completions from potential clients. That is why we call these metrics “vanity metrics”.
For instance, there is a common complaint we hear when new law firms contact us: their current agency was able to increase the number of visitors to the website, but that traffic did not produce high-quality, prospective clients. Many SEO agencies are producing (and reporting on) these vanity metrics – which are ultimately all for show. Is the extra traffic to your site worth your investment if it does not result in any real results: real phone calls, actual emails, and ultimately, real clients seeking your legal services?
Majux can offer attorneys something the other agencies can’t: a full-solution marketing strategy focused on building revenue and attracting new clients for your practice.
We are a Fulfillment House
Differently than other agencies that outsource aspects of their work product or services, we do everything in-house. That means each person who touches your campaign is an employee of Majux and is sitting together in our office in Philadelphia, PA. In fact, our team is so talented, that we provide white label services for many other agencies around the country.
For our clients, this means that we are able to pivot in near-real time and do whatever it takes to make your firm successful. If you are working with an agency that acts in a project management outsource management capacity, you may be waiting for next month’s engagement to tick over before they can start a new piece of your campaign or build something new. That is because the budget for outsourcing talent is rigid and often spent a month ahead of time.
Guess what – if you need something urgently, it can’t happen if your agencies outsourcing budget is spent for that month. Sometimes even waiting one week for a new piece of content or strategy is long enough to get left behind because another firm’s agency beat you to it. We are able to work in real-time, and not only react quickly to market or competitive developments, but also be proactive in getting out ahead of them.
We Base 100% of Our Decisions on Data
This point is so important that it is worth mentioning twice on this page. One of the most common complaints that we hear when a law firm gets in touch is how the management has no idea what is being done, what is being tracked, and/or whether what they are being told is true. At Majux, data is at the core of every decision we make.
We build fully customized dashboards for our clients that can report on any KPI that you find useful – full call data, form fills, the performance of specific pages or content areas, retargeting vs. display advertising vs. paid search, sponsorship campaigns, etc. These dashboards are hooked directly up to the raw sources of your data and are able to be accessed at any time. This keeps us honest and gives you the data that you need when it is convenient for you. You will never have to wonder if your agency is spinning bad results, or worse, outright lying to you.
We Work with Law Firms of All Stages
Whether you have just broken off to create your own firm or already have an online marketing strategy in place, we can help. We’ve helped attorneys launch new practices, run national practices, increase perceived authority in a practice area, and get new clients in narrowly-focused and emerging areas of litigation. We start with your clearly-expressed goals and custom-tailor a solution to achieve those goals.
No Long-Term Contracts
If you’ve worked with a large law firm SEO agency before, you may have been a victim of being held hostage with no results. Sometimes, these agencies will hold onto your digital assets (essentially making you rent them back) or lock you into long-term contracts. A long-term contract can be outright dangerous to the long-term stability of your law firm.
In the digital world, UX and customer expectations are constantly evolving. Google is constantly changing how they evaluate websites. Your potential clients are changing the way they interact with websites. Phone manufacturers are creating devices with new widths that change the way your website appears and potential clients interact with it.
If you’re locked into a long-term contract, as these changes occur, you’re often getting up-charged for now-necessary tasks that fall outside of the “current scope” of your project. We’ve had to rebuild a large number of websites for firms nearly overnight as a result of a large national marketing agency taking their website down when a decision was made to stop paying them for producing no results.
When you work with us, you own all of your assets – your website, your domain, your hosting, your call tracking, everything. You are not renting anything from us.
Our Average Client Relationship Age is 4+ Years
We recently calculated the average life of our entire client base. That average was 3.5 years – and that’s only because we have so many clients that have recently made the choice to leave their old agency and switch to Majux. We have several clients that have been with us since the beginning of our company eight years ago.
We are proud to have a 90% client retention rate year-over-year and honored to take that statistic as a testament to the partnerships that we have built with our clients and the real results we provide for them. To that effect, we prefer to let the results we produce make the case for you wanting to work with us. That is why all of our engagements are on a 60-day termination. If we don’t produce results; you can leave, but that doesn’t happen very often.
Are You Ready for the 2021 Approach to Marketing Your Law Firm?
When you partner with us, you get to partner with a team experienced in driving real revenue for national and regional law firms. Give us a call today so that you can go back to focusing on servicing clients rather than filling your funnel.
To get in contact with us fill out the contact form below or give us a call at (215) 309-1631.